Crime and Courts

North County swim instructor admits he molested young students

Nicholas Piazza, 20, is slated to be sentenced to eight years in state prison next month

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A former North County swim instructor who was arrested twice on allegations of molesting young swim students pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony and misdemeanor charges.

Nicholas Piazza, 20, is slated to be sentenced to eight years in state prison next month following his pleas to a felony county of a lewd or lascivious act against a minor under the age of 14 and two misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting a child.

NBC 7's Rory Devine explains why a judge wants to combine two child molestation cases against a former youth swim instructor.

Piazza was formerly an instructor at Callan Swim School in San Marcos and was arrested on allegations of inappropriately touching a 6-year-old boy during a lesson there in the summer of 2021. He was later released on bail and ordered not to work with children.

Piazza was arrested Sept. 29, 2022, after a boy's mother reached out to Child Welfare Services the day before, according to a news release issued at the time by the sheriff's department. She said her 7-year-old son told her that his swim instructor, Piazza, had sexually assaulted him on two separate occasions during private swim lessons, which took place between Sept. 7-25, 2022, in Rancho Santa Fe.

The instructor was arrested again last fall after what prosecutors allege was inappropriate touching of a 7-year-old boy during private lessons at a residence. Piazza was ordered held without bail following his second arrest and has remained in custody since last September.

Amy Moreno, a former employee of the Callan Swim School, in San Marcos, was the general manager until June 2021, when she took a leave of absence that ran till October of that year, then returned as office staff. Moreno told NBC 7 last year that the incident in July 2021 occurred at Callan Swim School, where Piazza was an instructor.

”I became aware of allegations that a child — that an instructor had touched a child inappropriately and that there was a criminal investigation into that,” Moreno told NBC 7 Thursday.

Moreno was on leave during the time when the incident occurred and heard the allegations after she returned.

NBC 7 reached out last year to the swim school for comment on the allegations and was given the following response from their attorney, Yale & Baumgarten LLP, denying any claims that inappropriate behavior toward a child occurred at the school:

“It has come to our attention that a former swim instructor at Callan Swim School was recently charged with a crime. That instructor is not employed by CSS and was not employed by CSS at the time of that alleged incident. We would like to make it clear that, after teaching swimming lessons for over 60 years and being in the business of saving lives, CSS would never knowingly put any student in jeopardy in any capacity. CSS categorically denies any allegations that suggest anything to the contrary.”

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